Utah Stories attended the Justice for Geist rally on Saturday June 28th. Our July issue’s cover story Justice For Geist (coming out tomorrow) makes the call to state leaders to change our laws to make pets more than personal property.
To consider that in the eyes of our criminal justice system, our dogs and cats are no different than a stereo or computer, and are collateral damage if they happen to be killed when officers are doing their job—doesn’t work for the couple thousand people who attended the rally.
The argument the Geist was “a threat” and therefore killing him was justified; or that “a threat” is somehow an acceptable excuse for a dog’s death—doesn’t work for us, who consider our dogs as family members.
If an animal is attacking a Police Officer and that Officer’s life is in jeopardy, then this is an excuse to do harm to an animal. I have been reminded over the past few days (by Devil’s advocates) that indeed some dogs do attack people, and can cause great harm to people. Certainly if a dog is protecting a criminal and that dog cannot be subdued in any other manner, then lethal force can be justified. Geist never touched Officer Olsen, or if he did, Chief Burbank chose not to say anything about this in his press conference on Friday June 27th.
Officers need proper training on the protocols and procedures in handling resident’s dogs when they enter private property without a warrant. Signs at the rally remind us that the Constitution prevents unlawful search and seizure.
The U.S. Postal service and UPS deliver drivers, never need to pull out guns and open fire on threatening dogs, nor should ever the Salt Lake City Police Department.